Publisher: 47 North
Author: Amy A. Bartol
Release: April 17th 2018
I received a copy of Traitor Born from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Traitor Born is the second novel in the Secondborn trilogy by Amy A. Bartol. I’ve been anxious to get my hands on this novel ever since I ended the first one. Bartol has a way of writing that keeps you on the edge of your seat, and craving to learn what is going to happen next.
This is a dystopian novel; where society demands that every firstborn has two children; the first is obviously the firstborn, they inherit their parent’s titles, jobs, and everything else. The second child is called the secondborn, and they get the short end of the stick, to put it lightly. Depending on what their designation is, they’re either treated as the equivalent of slaves or indentured servants for their whole lives, or they’re sent off to a war they likely won’t survive. Our main character, Roselle St. Sismode is a secondborn sword; meaning she was one of the children designated for war.
I’m so happy that I finally got my hands on this novel. I’ve been wondering what was going to happen next to Roselle. I’ll admit that over the course of a novel she had really grown on me, and now I feel that way even more. Traitor Born easily held up to my expectations for it, even surpassing them in some areas.
Roselle has been a puppet for her whole life; everyone involved with her has had their own agenda for her and their own motivations for treating her certain ways. The problem is she’s aware of it, and she’s never been content to play along. Her mother’s viciousness becomes even more apparent in this novel (anyone else hate her as much as I do?), as does the grief Roselle suffers from.
I love Roselle’s character; she’s so fierce and determined and so very stubborn. I’m not sure everyone could go through what she has and survive, let alone be mentally intact. It’s hard not to be impressed with that, and her fighting skills are also noteworthy (I know she keeps giving credit to her training here, but I think it has more to do with her determination and will to live).
There were times during this read that I was particularly reminded of the Hunger Games. The tournament that was the backdrop for a lot of scenes in this novel sounds almost exactly like the games played (with the major exception being that everyone playing is more or less there voluntarily). I was okay with the reminder however, as it’s a great series. Plus Bartol works really hard to make her series distinct from the other, so I don’t think the similarities were intended to be theft.
I think my only real complaint about this novel was the cliffhanger. As a rule I don’t love them, though I obviously understand their purpose. I don’t mind authors that leave the door open, to ensure that we’ll come back for more. But authors that set their fans up for months of agonizing wait? A little harsh. But I’ll take a great book with a cliffhanger over anything else any day of the week.
On the whole I found this to be a pretty emotional book. I don’t mean that Roselle was moping around or constantly expressing her feelings to us; I mean that this novel made me feel emotional. The breakneck pace at times was terrifying, and at more than one occasion I felt hurt and angry for Roselle. It’s hard not to get wrapped up in a story like this.
I can’t wait for the next novel to release. I just have to see what happens next to Roselle and all of her friends. Plus I’d like to see what changes are made to the world, by the time the series ends. There has to be some sort of reform, right? Here’s hoping!